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In south-west Japan, situated by the Sea of Japan and Lake Shinji, one of the country’s largest inland lakes, lies the picturesque coastal town of Izumo. It is famous, among other things, for one of the oldest and most significant Shinto shrines in Japan: Izumo Taisha. Not far from there is the headquarters of Seiwa Corporation, a leading manufacturer of machine tools for gear manufacturing in Japan. For Toshihiko Tatsu, the president and majority shareholder of Seiwa since 1994, this location has a special significance: “In Japanese mythology, Izumo is the country’s birthplace. The art of forging and steel processing also have a long tradition here, which continues to inspire us as a mechanical engineering company.”
For us, the strategic partnership with Seiwa is a springboard into new markets, which we are happy to use.
International sales partnership
Seiwa, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2020, is proud of its tradition as a customer-oriented solution provider: “With just under 100 employees, we supply leading companies of the Asian automotive industry and gear manufacturers worldwide”, president Tatsu explains. “We place great significance on innovation and technological progress and have been involved in research cooperation with universities and research centers for a long time.”
Liebherr has opened its own sales office in Japan in 2015. The contact between the two companies was brought about by Kiyoshi Iguchi, Director Sales & Service at Liebherr in Japan. Ultimately, Toshihiko Tatsu was won over by Liebherr’s presence as a complete provider of tools, machines and technology. This gives him confidence in the quality and precision of Liebherr’s measuring technology. Peter Wiedemann, General Manager for Sales of Liebherr-Verzahntechnik GmbH, expects new impulses for international business to result from the sales partnership: “For us, the strategic partnership with Seiwa is a springboard into new markets, which we are happy to use.”
The WGT 400 – universal and accurate
The company is well-known in the Asian market for the high quality of its products. Since March 2021, quality control of the tools used by Seiwa has been carried out on the WGT 400 gear inspection machine by Liebherr. It is also available there for tests and customer presentations.
The WGT 400 is a universal gear inspection machine which is suitable both for gear and for tool measurement and which provides a high-quality alternative to other common inspection machines. Lapped granite guides, air bearings, precision rotary tables and Renishaw probe systems ensure the mechanical precision of the machine. On the WGT, any type of gears, shaft geometries, gear cutting tools and other rotation-symmetrical workpieces can be measured – individually configured by Liebherr according to user requirements. Each model fulfills the quality standard of group 1 according to VDI/VDE 2612/2613 and measures gears from a module of > 0.12.
The machines are installed and commissioned on site by Liebherr service specialists. In addition, training is provided which is adapted to the specific customer, as well as service support packages. The WGT is equipped with an extensive software package, which includes not only gear and tool measurement but also integrated chamfer measurement. The measuring results can be evaluated according to the different country-specific norms – for example, according to JIS in Japan or AGMA in the USA.
Izumo, Osaka, Tokyo
Customer benefit for both sides
Toshihiko Tatsu expects, in particular, that the Liebherr gear inspection device will optimize the precision and quality of the measurement of tools used to machine very small parts: “We are currently putting a lot of work into machines for the production of internal gears and gears with very small modules. We are also hoping for an increase in efficiency due to the WGT 400’s high measuring speed. The supply of data in real time is a real advantage: Since our largest customer, Honda, also uses a WGT 400, this will make exchange of data a lot easier.”
Liebherr, in turn, is expanding its product portfolio with tool grinding machines: The grinding machine from Seiwa’s FABRIS product line sharpens the hobs for the machining of straight and helical gears. Until now, Seiwa machines have been well-known in the Asian market, where their stability and precision are valued by manufacturers and users. Liebherr customers will now also benefit from this: “We are taking this step because we are convinced of the quality of Seiwa’s machines”, says Kiyoshi Iguchi.
Two companies, one philosophy
Iguchi also has confidence in the company: “Seiwa is an agile, pragmatic company with a hands-on mentality, close customer contact and lots of experience – small but fine, and well connected in the Japanese gear world.” Both Liebherr and Seiwa view themselves as innovative solution providers focusing on the customer and their individual requirements. When asked what he particularly values about Liebherr, Toshihiko Tatsu says: “The foreman system in Germany stands for the craftsmanship which is greatly valued in Japan. I am impressed by the quality awareness of the Liebherr technicians and always have the feeling that one can learn a lot from them. This is probably the factor that makes Liebherr a top brand.” Both companies are convinced that the consensus between the companies’ philosophies is a good basis for a partnership and that customers on both sides will benefit from the expanded product portfolio and technological expertise.